Fisherman snags record carp after losing it twice; officials applaud
An Oklahoma fisherman who twice hooked but lost a huge bighead carp in the Neosho River discovered that the third time’s a charm.
Bryan Baker, a fishing guide with Spoonbill Wreckers, snagged the fish after spotting it on sonar in 12 feet of water and then boated it in six minutes, as reported by Outdoor Life.
“I don’t mess around with these big fish,” he told Outdoor Life. “So when I got her close to my boat, I grabbed her with my hands and hauled her aboard.”
The official weight of the behemoth was 118 pounds, 3 ounces, establishing the state record for a bighead carp.
Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation applauded the recent catch because bighead carp are an invasive species and it wants to get rid of them in Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees and the adjoining Neosho River.
“Bighead carp consume large quantities of zooplankton, aquatic insect larvae and adults,” the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation wrote on its Facebook page. “Because of their feeding habits, bighead carp are a direct competitor with our native species like paddlefish, and bigmouth buffalo; as well as all larval and juvenile fishes and native mussels. If you catch this invasive species DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE WATER.”
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Baker targets primarily paddlefish and spoonbills.
From Outdoor Life:
“There’s not that many carp, so I gotta search a good bit to find them,” he says. “But they’re huge, so they show up well. I’ve caught 21 bigheads this year, and on Thursday I caught 11 fish, three of which each weighed over 100 pounds.
But the 118-pound carp was special, and Baker knew it when he first spotted it.
“Three days before I caught her, I was fishing with my buddy Jimbo Hollon and his son Nailrod and we spotted the big girl on my Livescope,” says Baker. “Jimbo saw the fish’s image and said, ‘Holy cow, that fish is the size of a Volkswagen’.”
He snagged the fish using 100-pound line but lost it. Fishing the same area days later, he hooked it again, and lost it again.
“I got her hooked the second time, but the hook tore through her soft flesh,” Baker told Outdoor Life. “But 30 minutes later I hooked her again and finally put her in my boat.”
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.